Yellow Wallpaper Essay

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The Yellow Wallpaper” Charlotte Perkins Gilman
(Full name Charlotte Anna Perkins Stetson Gilman) American short story writer, essayist, novelist, and autobiographer.
The following entry presents criticism of Gilman 's short story “The Yellow Wallpaper” (1892).
The short story “The Yellow Wallpaper,” by nineteenth-century feminist Charlotte Perkins Gilman, was first published in 1892 in New England Magazine. Gilman 's story, based upon her own experience with a “rest cure” for mental illness, was written as a critique of the medical treatment prescribed to women suffering from a condition then known as “neurasthenia.” The significance of “The Yellow Wallpaper” as a feminist text, however, was not acknowledged until the critically
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Finally, “The Yellow Wallpaper” addresses issues of mental illness and the medical treatment of women. While the narrator is clearly suffering from some kind of psychological distress at the beginning of the story, her mental state is worsened by her husband 's medical opinion that she confine herself to the house. The inadequacy of the patriarchial medical profession in treating women 's mental health is further indicated by the narrator 's fear of being sent to the famous Dr. Weir, proponent of the rest cure treatment.
Critical Reception
At the time of its initial publication in 1892, “The Yellow Wallpaper” was regarded primarily as a supernatural tale of horror and insanity in the tradition of Edgar Allan Poe. In 1920, “The Yellow Wallpaper” was reprinted in the volume Great Modern American Short Stories, edited by William Dean Howells, who described it as a story to “freeze our … blood.” Elaine R. Hedges, author of the afterword to the 1973 version, praised the work as “one of the rare pieces of literature we have by a nineteenth-century woman who directly confronts the sexual politics of the male-female, husband-wife relationship.” Since that time, Gilman 's story has been discussed by literary critics from a broad range of perspectives—biographical, historical, psychological, feminist, semiotic, and socio-cultural. Nearly all of these critics acknowledge the story as a feminist text written in protest of the negligent treatment of women by a patriarchal
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